Former Trump advisers Dan Scavino, Peter Navarro face contempt vote from Jan. 6 committee
WASHINGTON - The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is pushing ahead with contempt charges against former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in response to their monthslong refusal to comply with subpoenas.
Navarro, Trump’s trade adviser, and Scavino, a White House communications aide under Trump, have been uncooperative in the congressional probe into the deadly 2021 insurrection, according to a committee report released Sunday night.
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The nine-member panel will meet Monday night to discuss whether to hold the two allies of the Republican former president in contempt of Congress. It is likely to be approved by the Democratic-majority committee.
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The recommendation of criminal charges would then go to the full House. Approval there would send the charges to the Justice Department, which has final say on prosecution.
Pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol in hopes of blocking Congress from certifying election results showing Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump.
The committee subpoenaed Navarro, 72, for his testimony in early February, seeking to question the Trump ally who promoted false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election that the committee believes contributed to the attack.
"He hasn’t been shy about his role in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and has even discussed the former President’s support for those plans," Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s Democratic chairman, said in a statement at the time.
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Though Navarro sought to use executive privilege to avoid cooperation, the Biden administration this month denied claims from him and another Trump aide, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying an assertion of executive privilege was not justified or in the national interest.
On Thursday, Navarro called the committee vote "an unprecedented partisan assault on executive privilege," and said, "The committee knows full well that President Trump has invoked executive privilege and it is not my privilege to waive."
In a statement Sunday night, Navarro said the committee "should negotiate this matter with President Trump." He added, "If he waived the privilege, I will be happy to comply; but I see no effort by the Committee to clarify this matter with President Trump, which is bad faith and bad law."
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In a subpoena issued to Scavino last fall, the committee cited reports that he was with Trump the day before the attack during a discussion about how to persuade members of Congress not to certify the election for Biden and with Trump again the day of the attack and may have "materials relevant to his videotaping and tweeting" messages that day.
In the recent report, committee said it also has reason to believe that due to the 46-year-old's online presence, Scavino may have had advance warning about the potential for violence on Jan. 6.
Scavino and his counsel have received at least half a dozen extensions to comply with the subpoena, according to the committee.
"Despite all these extensions, to date, Mr. Scavino has not produced a single document, nor has he appeared for testimony," the report stated.
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A lawyer for Scavino did not return messages seeking comment.
The committee previously voted to recommend contempt charges against longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon after he defied a congressional subpoena, as well as against Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows after he ceased cooperating with the panel. The full House then approved both contempt referrals.
Bannon was later indicted by a federal grand jury and is awaiting prosecution by the Justice Department. The Justice Department has not taken any action against Meadows.